Thursday, 6 November 2008

More news on Bindelgate...


You are to be admired for your chutzpah! No, I will not talk to you on the record. I don' t mind so much your hate mongering re the trans issue, but I am greatly offended by the piece you sent to National Newspaper re my 'unethical and unreliable' research (she's talking about this one). The lies and distortions you both repeated and reinforced are nothing short of irresponsible and nasty. Prostituted women are the ones to lose out if you lot are ever listened to.

If I see you on the demo, and are able to get to you to say hello without being lynched, I will of course talk to you. But do not expect anything else after the duplicitous way you have behaved.

Best, Julie


Hi Julie,

That's one of the issues I wanted to talk to you about. I'm aware that we have very different stances on the prostitutes' rights issue. I respect that you disagree with my views, but I don't understand how 'irresponsible' and 'duplicitous' is a fair description of an article based on several discussions with academics, sex workers and feminist activist groups up and down the country. I spent three days researching the article for a major newspaper, and would not have done so if I thought I were spreading lies. My intentions on that score were not to attack you personally but to question a piece of research from a government-funded body that seems to have led directly to government policy - I'm sure you see the necessity for ethical journalism on that score.

If there are distortions in the academics' response to the Poppy Project report, I'd be delighted to hear them. I've also been invited by the Project to go down and see for myself; I'm going to do so next week, with an open mind.

What worries me is your blase use of 'you lot'. The feminist movement desperately needs to move beyond this partisan politics; I'm the first to admit that we need to stop attacking each other and attack patriarchy instead. That's why I'm so keen that we talk to each other and see what we can share.

If you like, I don't mind doing it the other way round - I.e, I could talk to *you* on the record and you could write a report of it for, I don't know, wherever you want to, really.

We come from near-opposite sides of the feminist spectrum; we are from different generations and have different experiences of what sexism means, what sexuality means and what it means to be a woman in 21st-century Britain. But I think that's even more reason for us to talk.

By the way - I've posted a transcript of my original letter to you on my blog, ( although if you object I won't post your reply, merely a precis of it. Just so we're clear!

In real sisterhood,


ETA for blog: [I did monger a small amount of hate in the past. I did monger it, I admit to that mongering. I am now a year past 21 and willing to, you know, get to the issues. Are the leading lights of the radfem movement, more than twice my age, willing to do the same?]


PR, yes there were lies in the piece by the academics, and willfully misleading statements. You will hear about this when you visit POPPY. I will see you there.

I also hope to achieve a 'real' sisterhood.

All best, Julie

So! Result, sort of. I'll be reporting back from the demo tonight; hope to see some of you there.


  1. I'm just wondering if you asked permission to publish these emails?

    It doesn't strike me that an effective way to build consensus and overcome differences within the feminist movement is to splash private email conversations into a public forum.

  2. Hi Jess, if you look at the post I have offered her the opportunity to object to my posting it up, and told her I would not do so if she did:

    'By the way - I've posted a transcript of my original letter to you on my blog, ( although if you object I won't post your reply, merely a precis of it. Just so we're clear! In real sisterhood...'

  3. I understand Jess's reservations, but you did make it clear.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Bindel had already seen the post, in any case.

  4. See, I don't understand how you've been duplicitous in this - as far as I can tell, you're just posting your opinions on stuff.

    As for the 'victorian philanthropising' post, there is something I'm concerned about - I posted a comment on it, and someone replied saying "yes I agree, there should be prostitution strip malls". Just for the record, though I never got round to replying, this couldn't be further from my views on the subject.

    I just think that there should be regulations and safety nets and that the welfare and working conditions of the women is the main concern. I think it's actually quite dangerous to frame prostitution as a choice, because in a huge number of cases it isn't, and it would be too easy to say 'hey, she has a choice to do so or not' - I've heard that said about sweatshop workers, after all. And of course, the more capitalist it gets, she's not going to have more of a choice, her choice will just be restricted in different ways. And freedom of choice is illusory in so many ways anyway.

    Then again, I don't think banning and criminalising is helpful either, because I think you should be able to offer the service and get paid for it if you so choose, and also, banning would deprive so many women of their livelihood overnight. And besides, it's quite simple, prostitution exists now, therefore the safety of sex workers is an issue now.

    And I don't get the work = empowering free choice argument either. Seems like an argument that could only ever be put forward by someone who'd never worked for minimum wage or in a call centre.

    Anyway, should probably have put this on the other post, but that's sunk now.

    I'm also puzzled why a national journalist like Julie Bindel would be interested in accusing a young twenty-something underground journalist of 'hatemongering' and 'duplicity' for disagreeing with her. Why does she care? And, like, if the hatemongering actually took place in your teens, I think a forty-something feminist veteran should be able to excuse it, right?

  5. OK, I admit I didn't notice that bit!

    But I still think it's not a particularly good tactic to carry out every conversation in the public gaze, should we genuinely want to build bridges.

    Also, you basically said 'I'll quote you or re-write what you said in my own words' without giving an option to carry on private dialogue.

  6. Julie Bindel's just got a post up on CiF - looks to me like she's not really that interested in getting on/reconciliation.


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